OK, so when I first started writing a “Writing News” post on my blog it was with this day in mind. That was a long long time ago. I went to my first writer’s conference in 1st grade. I took creative writing classes all through school. I enrolled in The Institute of Children’s Literature in March of 2001. I completed 2 classes with them, 4 years of work, and a historical YA manuscript.
I did not sell that manuscript today.
But I did sell a book manuscript. Actually it is a novella, a cute little book. And I wrote it on a dare.
Several times I’ve noted in writing books how they say you will work on that first manuscript for years and years (11 and counting, I’m still revising it!) and then one day you will write something else. And your skill will be at the point where you can do the story justice and that is the story you sell. I did that…and it didn’t work. I spent five years on the first manuscript, took a 2 year break to write something new, then went back to the first manuscript for another 4 years to split it into two manuscripts. Still nothing sold.
Then my lovely sister challenged me to write a novella in a month.
What a crazy idea. It had taken me five years to write that first story, then two years to write the second. A month, no way! But an editor for Pelican Book Group was coming to our local writer’s conference and on their website they had a call for submissions for Passport to Romance novellas.
What the heck? It would be good practice, and a nice break from my incessant revising.
So I picked a story off their site, Copenhagen, Denmark. An afternoon brunch, a gravel road, and a friendly dog. Could I write a story with these elements? Why not try? Our family owns a 150lb Newfoundland who was very very friendly. In his youth he was always dragging us through puddles, and lakes and rivers and…anything wet. Good book fodder. So off we went on our month long novella adventure. It was hilarious, my sister and I had so much fun. Every crazy thing our characters did was something new to e-mail about. I haven’t had so much fun writing since I was 14 years old.
I wrote the novella in February, I revised it in March, I pitched it in April. Then I revised it again with my critique partner and waited and waited and waited.
Then on Friday, July 26th 2014, almost thirteen and a half years after I started writing to get published, I got a contract offer from Pelican for Copenhagen Cozenage, that novella that I wrote just for fun. Yesterday I signed the contract and put it in the mail.
Now, I have no idea how many revisions they are going to require, that process hasn’t started yet. But for now it is just so wonderful to know that they liked it. That something about the story made a real live editor want to keep reading. That next year my words will be available for any and all who want them. My prayer was always that God would help me to become a good enough writer to create a story that someone would want. It took so very long, but today I am blessed with a wish I thought would never come true.